Betulius Shoots for All-America Honors

March 23, 2013

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A season after narrowly missing out on qualifying for the NCAA Championships, sophomore Grant Betulius has his sights set on All-America recognition.

“Last season I was probably four spots away from making the NCAA meet,” said Betulius, a native of Naperville, Ill. “Coming into this year, it was a goal of mine to make the meet, and I am happy I was able to achieve it.”

Betulius heads to Indianapolis for the 2013 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships with the 19th-best time in the country in the 100-yard backstroke at 46.70. He also will swim in the 200-backstroke, where his time of 1:43.65 ranks 36th, and as a member of the 800-freestyle relay.

Entering the meet with the 19th-fastest time puts Betulius in a strong position to earn a second swim and gain All-America recognition. The top-16 advance for a second swim and earn the distinction.

“It is a goal of mine to move up and get a second swim at the meet,” said Betulius. “I feel like if I were to repeat the time I swam at the Big Ten Championships, I should have a really good shot at achieving that goal.”

Betulius entered his freshman season as the Iowa school record holder in the 100 backstroke with a time of 47.17 seconds. He broke the record the first time Dec. 1 at the Hawkeye Invitational becoming the first UI swimmer to break the 47 second barrier, touching the wall in 46.97 seconds.

During the 2013 Big Ten Championships, Betulius posted the top time in school history for a third time, finishing with a time of 46.70 seconds to place sixth in the event.

“Grant is a very talented swimmer that has come a long way and has had big time drops,” said UI head coach Marc Long. “He’s in a good spot to be in that 19th seed position.

“So many people have to do everything they can to get to that meet that they don’t necessarily perform any faster. In some ways, if you repeat the time you did to get there; you could be in a scoring position.”

Iowa is looking for its first individual All-American since 2000 when Ales Abersek earned the distinction in the 100 and 200 butterfly events.

Betulius knows the meet is considered one of the fastest in the world, and he’s eager to race against some of the best.

“It is one of the fastest meets, if not the fastest meet in the world, right up there with the Olympics because you have all the American swimmers along with the foreign athletes,” said Betulius. “I am really excited to even watch the meet, let alone swim in it. It’s going to be a fun environment and hopefully we can put out the Hawkeye name.”

A total of 270 participants (235 swimmers and 35 divers) will compete at the 2013 NCAA Championships on March 28-30. The competition will be held at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.